Sunday, July 25, 2004

In some ways I envy the absolute certainty with which a writer like Giles Lambertson approaches his columns. Take this morning's effort in the N&R (not posted), in which he says an imminent terrorist attack on the US will force those who protest Bush's war policies to choose sides.

Lambertson: "I don't expect unyielding critics of the war to concede that the United States is safer today than it was before 9/11. I do wonder if they recognize that a day of reckoning is coming their way. Their reckless rhetoric has postioned them treacherously close to aiding and comforting the enemy. When the next attack comes, will they be able to pull back or will their tongues carry them over the line into traitorous territory?"

"The war," he says. "The enemy."

Not a word about the fact that the "war on terror" and the "war in Iraq" are not exact synonyms.

Not a word about supporting vigorous action against actual terrorist threats to the US (who doesn't, by the way?) while questioning the invasion of a country that was not involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Not a word about mismanaging the occupation of Iraq in a way that significantly weakens the anti-terror strategy of which it is supposed to be the foundation.

Just this: Bush policy good, questions bad.

What if the next attack comes from the same people who perpetrated the first one? Wouldn't that indicate that the war in Iraq has been aimed at the wrong people, that we've taken our eye off the ball?

Here's a suggestion for your next column, Giles: "Nuance -- ain't that some kind of French word?"

10:40:23 AM    comment []

Jay Rosen infiltrates the mainstream to subvert the dominant paradigm. Well, he has an article in Newsday on why blogging the convention matters, which is pretty much the same thing, right?

10:22:46 AM    comment []

My newspaper column this week has nothing to do with politics, terrorism, business, or technology...

A beach trip by the numbers

by Edward Cone
News & Record

Mark Twain said there is "no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them." I'm happy to report that our recent beach trip left the whole family on the positive side of that formula.

Mark Twain did not say that there are "lies, damn lies, and statistics," although he is often miscredited with the phrase, which he borrowed from Benjamin Disraeli. In any case, the following statistical analysis offers a reasonably accurate account of our summer adventure.

2, weeks spent with the family at the Jersey Shore.

31, members of four generations of my wife's extended family with whom we experienced some level of social interaction. We'll just have to see everyone else next year.

27, average holes per day of miniature golf played by certain younger members of our party.

9, my score on that one hole with the loop-the-loop thing that kept spitting my ball back at me.

12:2, ratio of sunny days to cloudy days during our stay.

65, degrees Fahrenheit, temperature at which Yankees start talking about how warm the water is.

96, estimated percentage of crabs pulled from the bay that were deemed by young fisherfolk to be keepers while still in the water.

18, estimated percentage of crabs that turned out to be keepers.

Like, one zillion, number of jellyfish in the water that one day when there were like, one zillion jellyfish in the water.

3,000, estimated number of people on the beach visible from the deck of our house on July 4.

1.5, hours of fireworks up and down the beach as towns competed with each other (and with freelancers) to wow the crowds.

9, dollars spent on free-throw shooting game at the boardwalk to win a $3 prize.

2, children who rode the giant bungee-launcher ride at the boardwalk that I would not ride under almost any imaginable circumstance.

66, Scrabble points earned with four one-point letters on a single turn by my wife, the highest return on investment by any player during a fortnight of nerd Olympics.

7, cards per player in the running poker game at the corner table.

2, bike rides per day to the Italian market to reload on meatballs and other staples.

Uncounted, calories and carbs; Dr. Atkins and his killjoy friends were not invited on our vacation.

2, sunrises I watched, both after getting up early, which at this point of my life is easier than the way we used to do it.

0, fully functioning brain cells left on duty by late in the second week, when my son and I found ourselves laughing unironically at reruns of "Family Feud" on the Game Show Network.

99, problems in the Jay-Z song I kept hearing, which was 99 more problems than I had.

Edward Cone (, writes a column for the News & Record most Sundays.

© News & Record 2004

8:25:28 AM    comment []